14 October 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
YEREVAN/KUALA LUMPUR (14 October 2020) – Central Bank of Armenia and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) are organizing the 6th Experts Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP) Meeting and member training on 14-15 October 2020.
Financial sector regulators and policymakers in seven countries representing AFI’s Eastern Europe & Central Asia Policy Initiative (ECAPI) are attending the event to exchange knowledge and experiences, which will be held virtually due to the coronavirus outbreak. ECAPI is comprised of central banks from Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia.
It marks the second EGFIP gathering that Central Bank of Armenia has co-hosted since onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, demonstrating its and other ECAPI members’ commitment to accelerating financial inclusion across the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region. Central Bank of Armenia is the current chair of ECAPI.
“The ECAPI EGFIP and Member Training is a great opportunity to share key achievements and current challenges of member countries. It is a great a chance to summarize the results of work of last few months and explore peer learning opportunities to address specific challenges according to financial education and literacy and digital innovations advancing financial inclusion,” said Central Bank of Armenia Deputy Governor Vakhtang Abrahamyan.
The two-day event will kick off with EGFIP members sharing their expertise on pressing topics, including electronic Know-Your-Customer (e-KYC), electronic identification (e-ID) and interoperable regional payments systems. Complimenting this will be subsequent member training on financial education and literacy initiatives, reflecting the growing number of countries in the region developing national financial education strategies.
“We are thankful to Armenia for being a leader in AFI and ECAPI and co-hosting two meetings of the regional initiative this year. Though the COVID-19 crisis has hard across the AFI network, we believe that without the strides AFI members made over the past decade in advancing financial inclusion, combined with their proactive policy response to the crisis of the previous months, the situation could have been far worse. Initiatives in digital finance, mobile money, agent banking, e-KYC and SME finance played a critical part in mitigating the effects of the crisis,” AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig said.
As we proceed with recovery and building of ‘better normal’, we as regulators, should draw the right conclusions from what we have learned so far and aim to build the ‘new economy’, AFI Executive Director said. Dr. Hannig highlighted that besides gains made through digital financial services, the recovery should also include green finance consideration to allow the new economy to be green, resilient and socially inclusive, as well as strengthen the gender lens when developing emergency and recovery responses.
“The crisis is not over, and we are on this road together. Yet, with every crisis there is also opportunity. We in AFI see a case for policymakers to accelerate financial inclusion interventions so that these efforts benefit even the informal sector to quicken the recovery process. Our recently opened Europe Office in Luxembourg serves to help accelerate knowledge exchange and peer learning among ECAPI members with the rest of the network and beyond,” Dr. Hannig underscored.
Further deepening the collective knowledge of the AFI network, regulators from developed countries – including Germany and Czech Republic – and prominent private sector stakeholders will also participate in the final day of events, under AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) and Developed-Developing Country Dialogue platforms. Here, a market-wide spectrum of voices – from long-term strategic partners VISA and Mastercard to new PPD partner Home Credit – will deliberate key e-KYC and e-ID innovations, regulatory framework, respective policy enablers and lessons learnt.
Earlier this year, CBA and AFI co-hosted the 5th ECAPI meeting on 1–3 June 2020, the first AFI regional initiative held virtually due the magnitude of the global crisis posed by COVID-19. In 2020 alone, Armenia published three knowledge products as part of its work in the network, sharing their knowledge and experiences across the region and globally to the organization’s members. These include: The Long-Term Effectiveness of Financial Education Classroom Workshops in Rural Areas the Case of Armenia; Key Facts Statements For Credit: Do They Work? The Experience of Armenia; The Financial Competency Matrix for Adults, A Policy Framework
ECAPI members will be among the foremost beneficiaries of AFI’s recently launched European Representative Office (ERO) in Luxembourg, designed to expand opportunities for peer learning and knowledge exchange among regulators in developing and developed countries, contributing towards a more equitable, inclusive and green economic recovery. Co-hosted by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance and its Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the AFI ERO is part of a wider push for greater decentralization and a stronger focus on providing tailored services and products that meet the needs of existing and potential members across the continent and beyond. AFI’s Latin America and the Caribbean office is expected to be launched in in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 2021.
Launched in 2018, ECAPI is AFI’s newest regional initiative and the primary platform for AFI member institutions in the EECA region to support and develop their financial inclusion policy and regulatory frameworks and to coordinate regional peer learning efforts. ECAPI aims to resolve regional challenges and elevate the voice of the EECA region on key financial inclusion policy issues. Within ECAPI are technical staff who make up EGFIP are nominated as primary or alternate members and are directly involved in the technical work of financial inclusion.
Central Bank of Armenia is the central bank of the Republic of Armenia whose primary goal is to ensure price and financial stability. Headquartered in Yerevan, it is an active member of the AFI network. Since having joined the network in 2011, it has made six Maya Declaration Commitments, including to further enhance its knowledge, understanding and skills to deepen financial inclusion within its national borders, as well as share its experience with peer countries. Among Central Bank of Armenia’s financial inclusion priorities is in financial literacy, with financial literacy assessments used to develop the Armenian National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE) in 2014. In the same year, Central Bank of Armenia launched its Financial Capability Assessment Project to develop a national baseline for financial capability in Armenia and identify measurable targets for the NSFE. www.cba.am
AFI is the world’s leading organization on financial inclusion policy and regulation. Roughly 100 member institutions make up the AFI network including central banks, ministries of finance and other financial regulators from over 80 developing and emerging countries. AFI works on empowering policymakers to increase access and usage of quality financial services for the underserved through formulation, implementation and global advocacy of sustainable and inclusive policies. www.afi-global.org